Photograph by george steinmetz
the terraced rice fields of #yuanyang are the world’s largest, and cover over 1000m of vertical terrain. they were carved out of the mountains by the local #hani minority group, who still plant and harvest them by hand. the area was designated a #unescoworldheritage site in 2008, but even so this ancient landscape has started to change. now 10-20% of the terraces are dry and uncultivated, as young people are choosing a more modern way of life than their parents. i was honored this week when this picture won an award from @worldpressphoto for contemporary issues, an encouraging sign that global #foodsecurity is being taken seriously. to see more, check out the 2.2018 edition of @natgeo, and follow @geosteinmetz
Video by @joelsartore | during moonlit nights, off the coasts of southern japan, brazil and argentina, you might get lucky enough to see a flower hat jelly like this one emit fluorescent lights from its tentacles. these invertebrates have no brain, heart or real eyes and yet, incredibly, they are predatory animals. to hunt, these jellies will hide amongst the seagrass, waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim by. by stinging their prey with their venomous tentacles, they’re able to subdue it and will consume entire fish at a time. while a sting from this jelly will definitely hurt and likely leave a rash, it is not fatal to humans.
this flower hat jelly was photographed at @aquariumpacific, where they are displayed under moonlight conditions to highlight their fluorescence.
for a portrait of this beautiful jelly, follow @joelsartore.
Photo by @renan_ozturk
the moment before the storm atop cerro colorado, patagonia. climbing here not only revealed not only incredible route potential but more insight into the complex patagonia conservation story. to get to the cliff we enlisted the help of domingo, a gaucho whose family owns the surrounding land at the base. he grew up herding sheep here - “when i was 11 my father had me spend 3 months living up at the base of the rocks to tend the sheep living in the cave previously occupied by the tehuelche native tribes”. laying on his sheep skin mat he looked incredulously at us, our drones and junk-show of climbing/camera gear. i don’t speak spanish, so i gathered a few tidbits of info from @andresbozzolo but overall i sensed the conflict going on inside of him. due to the conservation work this place is on the verge of becoming a national park and it became illegal to k**l foxes and puma, and with those populations surging and killing the flock it became impossible to keep the family sheep tradition alive. ~
the future of this place is probably some kind of advanced sustainable eco-tourism (like @tompkins_conservation has done in parque patagonia), something domingo can’t quite grasp yet. i’m sure in the moment he hoped it didn’t mean more gringos like me taking his photo. his culture even though it’s non-native and originated from the spanish in the 1600’s has evolved into something beautiful, something of its own.
it’s a similar struggle all over the planet. how do we move forward and do the right thing for these wild places while educating and helping those who already have the deepest connection to the land?
we didn’t see domingo again since the horses went down the hill before we finished climbing. we hiked away as he lounged with his nephew on the soft grass by a natural spring. “i had a way of whistling to the dogs and could control the entire herd. my nephew never learned to whistle, he has a cell phone and other work...” ~
Photo by @brianskerry.
happy #presidentsday: former us president barack obama explores the waters off midway atoll on september 1st, 2016, days after he created the world's largest marine protected area by expanded the boundaries of the papahānaumokuākea marine national monument. the president went snorkeling here to see firsthand the valuable and fragile marine ecosystems in us waters. the papahānaumokuākea marine national monument was first designated by president george w. bush.
several national monuments designated by us presidents on land have been dramatically reduced in size by the current administration and marine national monuments are currently being reviewed for reduction in size or elimination.
scientists have stated that in order to have a healthy ocean and a healthy planet, at least 40% of earth’s oceans should be protected from damaging practices such as overfishing and mining. currently only about 3% of the ocean is protected. every other breath that humans take comes from the sea, as more than 50% of the oxygen needed for life is generated by the ocean. the creation of marine reserves has also been proven to help protect against the damaging effects of climate change. conserving precious marine habitats then, is necessary for our own healthy future.
with only about 3% of oceans currently protected, we have a long way to go, but these conservation efforts are substantial steps of towards progress. photographed on assignment for @natgeo.
to see more underwater photography, and to learn more about the cobservation of our oceans, follow me - @brianskerry - on instagram.
Photo by @shonephoto (robbie shone) - mountain regions respond sensitively to climate change. taking advantage of alpine caves, a team of scientists led by swiss paleoclimatologist dr. marc luetscher from the swiss institute for speleology and karst studies (siska), is working to understand how permafrost has evolved through time. ice caves form through a combination of snow intrusion and/or congelation of water infiltrating a karst system. often up to several centuries old, the climate record of this ice remains largely under-studied. today we are also able to tell if a cave was an ice cave in the past. this is achieved by looking for cryogenic cave calcites. these form when water enters a cave, and freezes and turns to ice. in this process, the water becomes progressively enriched in ions to the point that it becomes super-saturated and precipitates calcite. here we see an ice filled gallery inside eisriesenwelt eishöhle, werfen (south salzburg), austria. @natgeocreative
Image by @beverlyjoubert. an aerial view of elephants foraging in the okavango delta shows just how important these great animals are in these and other systems. vegetation can quickly become impenetrable in such wet, high nutrient areas. the large bulk of elephants and hippos continually create trails across the landscape giving access to food and water to numerous other species. this also prevents channels from becoming clogged with silt and vegetation and effectively keeps the delta flowing. #ecosystemdrivers#elephanttrails#okavango
Video by @franslanting and @christineeckstrom royal albatrosses are huge and when they get going with each other they ignore a photographer crouched nearby. their courtship involves an ecstatic dance ritual unrivaled in the bird world. mastery of it requires practice and that is what these birds are doing. they are born with a basic knowledge of the dance, but they can only secure a mate if they can perform it with confidence—and if they are in sync with their partner. in most birds it is the males who display and the females who choose, but in albatrosses males and females have equal roles as partners. these young royal albatrosses have gathered to practice courtship moves on each other in a group like teenagers in a mall. they’ve got the motivation, but they are trying too hard. when two albatrosses get more serious about each other, they will sneak away as a pair. to see a video of two adult royals who decided they are right for each other and ready to make a long term commitment, follow me @franslanting and @christineeckstrom@natgeocreative@thephotosociety#albatross#seabird#newzealand#antarctica#amazing#yearofthebird#wildlife#courtship
Photo by @brianskerry.
a great white shark swims through an undersea forest - approaching a ray - in the waters of south australia.
the largest predatory fish in the sea, the great white shark remains somewhat enigmatic, with much of its behavior - and even its population numbers - unknown. as a visual storyteller working in the sea for decades, i am always thinking about how to create images that will engage the viewer. i search for places and brief moments during which i can make a picture that will make people want to know more about an animal or place. producing such images requires spending a lot of time underwater, waiting for that elusive moment that will resonate well as a photograph.
photographed #onassignment for @natgeo magazine.
to see more underwater photography, and to learn more about the incredible creatures of our oceans, follow me - @brianskerry - on instagram.
Photo by @argonautphoto (aaron huey). a whirling dervish dressed in red at the urs (death anniversary celebration) of lal shahbaz qalandar. a profound scholar of religions and contemporary of rumi, he travelled around the muslim world in the mid 1200’s and settled in sehwan sharif, pakistan, where he was eventually buried. the annual urs brings more than half a million pilgrims from all over pakistan. the three-day feast fills the narrow streets of sewan with pilgrims, fakirs and devotees. they visit the shrine to commune with the saint, offer tributes and ask for their wishes. they sing and dance day and night to folk bands and quawwali groups. to see a whole series on sufism follow @argonautphoto! #damadammastqalandar
Photograph by michael yamashita @yamashitaphoto - potala palace in lhasa at night in rain, maybe the only time to see it without throngs of tourists and pilgrims. yesterday’s losar, tibetan new year celebrations were interrupted by a fire near the jokhang temple. fortunately there were no injuries and apparently no damage to the 1,400 year old world heritage site. the potala palace and jokhang are lhasa’s most sacred, visited by thousands of tibetan devotees especially during the new year - the heart of tibetan buddhism. #potala#losar#lhasa#tibet for more on tibet, visit @yamashitaphoto
Photo by @paleyphoto (matthieu paley). we crossed the western himalaya, walking from village to village, often invited in people’s home. early morning in khon jon’s kitchen in the wakhan corridor, afghanistan. his children playing with light while a feast is getting ready. this is one of the rare “meat day”: most wakhi might only eat meat once or twice a month. a sheep had just been slaughtered, reducing the size of the family herd. on their forehead, everyone had a small drop of the blood of the sheep that will feed them and their neighbours. swipe right to see a portrait of khon jon’s son - head out to @paleyphoto for details of his face - with @outofeden#evolutionofdiet
Photo by @nickcobbing
i used a remote trigger to make this image, after realising all my crew-mates had turned in for the night and i was the only one who could be in the picture. i had stayed up late because the fading polar light was just too good to go inside. that’s often the case in the polar regions during summer -sometimes its better to ‘flip the clock’ and work into the night-time. it had been a long day, working with scientists conducting oceanographic work along the coast of greenland and our ship was now anchored inside a fjord for shelter and much needed rest. there’s another bonus to staying up late, research ships can often be crowded places -space is at a premium because of the high cost involved- so its a good opportunity to watch the icy wonders outside and to reflect on my place in it all.
Photo by @hammond_robin for @onedayinmyworld
“in an institution there is no possibility of recovery because there is no freedom.” ruzica vidakovic (left) met her husband zoran stih (right) when they were living in ‘home for the insane’ in osijek, croatia. zoran developed ptsd during the war and ruzica had a “nervous breakdown” during a violent first marriage. while living in the institution they couldn’t be together; it was against the rules. now they live independently in an apartment in the city. “before i met her i was on the bottom rung of life. now that i’ve met her, i’m on the top of life.”
rehabilitation cannot take place behind the high walls of an institution. in four years, 172 out of 200 people have moved from ‘home for the insane’ into apartments. staff have trained to serve as assistants in the community. for many beneficiaries it is the first time they’ve experienced true freedom. this facility in osijek is the only one out of 26 in the country to implement the un convention to deinstitutionalize.
#inmyworld is designed to expose the challenges faced by people living with #mentalhealth issues and give them the chance to be seen, heard and valued. @witness_change is a nonprofit that aims to improve life for excluded groups by amplifying their stories. this project was funded in part through a grant from @opensocietyfoundations. to see more or to share your own mental health story please follow @onedayinmyworld